NY and NJ lawmakers press Ryan on Gateway project funding

NY and NJ lawmakers press Ryan on Gateway project funding
© Greg Nash

A group of Republican lawmakers from New York and New Jersey met with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage How does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act MORE (R-Wis.) on Wednesday to emphasize the importance of a multibillion-dollar rail project the Trump administration has backed away from in recent months.

Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage Monmouth poll: Incumbent GOP candidate trails Dem challenger in New Jersey House race Blue-state Republicans say they will vote against 'tax cuts 2.0' if it extends SALT cap MORE (R-N.J.) said he asked for the meeting, which comes as a vote on the upcoming omnibus spending bill appears to move to next week. Reps. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify On The Money: Broad coalition unites against Trump tariffs | Senate confirms new IRS chief | Median household income rose for third straight year in 2017 | Jamie Dimon's brief battle with Trump Blue-state Republicans say they will vote against 'tax cuts 2.0' if it extends SALT cap MORE (R-N.Y.), Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinTrump allies want Congress to find anonymous op-ed author House Republicans ask Trump to declassify Carter Page surveillance docs Biographer criticizes Republicans for using Pat Tillman's memory to attack Kaepernick MORE (R-N.Y.), Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithFor Poland, a time for justice On The Money: Broad coalition unites against Trump tariffs | Senate confirms new IRS chief | Median household income rose for third straight year in 2017 | Jamie Dimon's brief battle with Trump CORRECTED: GOP lawmaker taken out of context in remarks on gay adoption MORE (R-N.J.), Tom MacArthurThomas (Tom) Charles MacArthurMillionaires group endorses Dem House candidates opposed to GOP tax law Election handicapper moves 10 races toward Dems Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' MORE (R-N.J.), Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoJordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker On The Money: Broad coalition unites against Trump tariffs | Senate confirms new IRS chief | Median household income rose for third straight year in 2017 | Jamie Dimon's brief battle with Trump Blue-state Republicans say they will vote against 'tax cuts 2.0' if it extends SALT cap MORE (R-N.J.) and John FasoJohn James Faso'Law & Order: SVU' star wins court case, gets on ballot in NY congressional district Preventing violence isn’t partisan: Time to reauthorize Violence Against Women Act Five things to watch for in New York primaries MORE (R-N.Y.) also participated.

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“The president has indicated that he might veto it,” Lance told reporters. “But Paul Ryan has no problem with Gateway funding.”

The Gateway project, a series of rail programs aimed at rebuilding passenger rail connection under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, has been a sticking point in ongoing negotiations over the spending bill ahead of a March 23 deadline.

The White House last week threatened to veto the legislation if it includes $900 million in funding for the project. Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation said it opposes financing Gateway in the impending omnibus, but does not have an issue with the project itself.

Lance told The Hill that it's "unclear" why the president is opposed to funding the project in the omnibus, but said he believes it's part of a "dispute" between Trump and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (D-N.Y.).

"I think Sen. Schumer should move on some of the appointments the president has made to fill his own administration,” Lance said.

He also argued that a spending bill stripped of Gateway funding won't pass the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-seat majority but will need 60 votes to pass the omnibus.

New York and New Jersey lawmakers have pressed Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil Kathy Griffin offers her guesses on anti-Trump op-ed author A fuel-economy change that protect freedom and saves lives MORE over the project this month as she appears in front of multiple congressional committees to testify about the Trump administration’s infrastructure proposal.

Chao argues New York and New Jersey should put up more money for the project, which the states hope to fund using government loans like Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF). 

Schumer, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEx-White House official revises statement to Mueller after Flynn guilty plea: report CNN editor: Booker's 'groping incident' 'different' from Kavanaugh allegation Poll: Most Massachusetts voters don't think Warren should run for president in 2020 MORE (D-N.J.), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in 2015 announced they had reached a deal with the Obama administration in which the federal government would fund half of the project.

But the Trump administration in recent months has taken a different approach, with the Federal Transit Administration denying the presence of an agreement for the federal government to split the cost with the two states. The Transportation Department also withdrew from the program’s board last summer.

Despite the Trump administration’s pushback on the project's funding, Lance said he “hope[s] and expect[s] that it continues to be in the bill." 

“This was not a meeting with the White House. This was a meeting where we explained our position to Speaker Ryan,” Lance said.